FROM Paul Fishstein
The Taliban in Afghanistan: Back with a Vengeance Hundreds of escaped prisoners and other Taliban militants are said to be dug in a few miles from Afghanistan’s second largest city. Thousands of villagers have fled from orchards and vineyards, and today NATO forces and Afghan soldiers launched an effort to drive the insurgents out. Is this the predicted "Spring offensive," with Taliban forces better armed and more strategically savvy than ever before? Can they further damage the already shaky regime of President Hamid Karzai? Can they kill enough coalition soldiers to weaken support in NATO countries?
Islamabad, Kabul, Washington and International Politics At Camp David on Monday, Presidents Bush and Karzai were bullish on the upcoming meeting. Musharraf has been much in the news since U.S. intelligence reported that Al Qaeda is regrouping in his country, and the Democratic candidates for President have been trying to sound tough in case Musharraf fails to take action.
Poppies, Jihadis Stand in the Way of Progress in Afghanistan At Camp David on Monday, with Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai by his side, President Bush warmly endorsed a "jirga ," a traditional meeting to resolve disputes. Pakistan's President, Pervez Musharraf , had agreed to attend tomorrow's meeting in Kabul, but today declined, saying the press of business will keep him at home in Islamabad. Musharraf says he hopes lower-ranking officials can resolve issues between the two countries, but his withdrawal is seen as a snub to the United States. Bush and Karzai say al Qaeda in Pakistan is helping the Taliban stage a bloody resurgence, which is also fueled by a record crop of opium poppies. Will Karzai have to go it alone? Would legalizing poppy-production help ease the pressure. Can the "jirga" make a difference, without either Musharraf or the Taliban?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
White House budget proposal slashes and burns President Trump's first budget request is considered dead on arrival in Congress — a familiar development in Capitol Hill. We hear what it reveals about the priorities of the new administration. What's likely to die… and what might survive?
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?